Dozens of Norwalk residents are determined to get their businesses noticed on the internet.
"The next three hours, many small businesses will have actually published their very first website," said Google spokesperson Melissa Nitti. "It won't be complete, they'll have to work on it, but it will be theirs."
Google partnered with Start-logic as well as Senator Chris Murphy and Congressman Jim Himes on Tuesday to bring its Connecticut Get Your Business Online program to Norwalk.
"It does take persistence, some originality, and content that matters to your followers," said Murphy. "I remember at the beginning of starting up my social media presence, I didn't know it was worth it, but as I kept at it, the number continued to grow."
Google educators guided small business owners in creating their own website for the free event at Dolce Norwalk. They say while 97 percent of Internet users look online for local products and services, 53 percent of small businesses statewide do not have a website.
"It is no longer optional to have a meaningful and robust presence online," said Himes. "If you're not there and your competitors are there, it's pretty clear what will happen. So you go to be there in a big way, then you're not selling in Fairfield county anymore, you'll be selling in Dallas Texas, Portland Oregon and maybe internationally, and that's a really exciting opportunity, and something you have to be doing."
"The biggest piece of advice is to not think of it as just an online brochure," said Google Educator Anastasia Kudrez. "A website that needs to grow and change with your business and think of it as this ongoing marketing tool to help you grow online."
The ConnecticutGetOnline program is free for one year. After that fees are about $5 per month.
"No matter what platform you use to build your website, grab a mobile phone and take a look at your site and if it's not usable, if it's not readable, if it's not easy to get around, that's one of the most important things they need to work on because more and more people are accessing the web using their phone these days."
For more information on visit www.ConnecticutGetOnline.com